Cecaelias are “intelligent human-octopus hybrids,” to quote the Bestiary 3. In other words, think Ursula from The Little Mermaid. (Which sounds lame, but is actually awesome. Seriously, remember how creepy and sassy she was? One of Disney’s best villains. Now imagine a hunting party made of her chiseled-abbed nephews.) Forget sahuagin or adaros—shark-men are so last edition. It’s time for the reign of the octopusfolk!
Lots that’s interesting about these guys:
1) Unlike many other aquatic folk, cecaelias have a decent land speed. Get on their bad side and they are perfectly capable of following you on land to duke it out.
2) Speaking of speed, they have a jet move of 200 ft.—perfect for hit-and-run attacks (emphasis on the run…or rather, squirt).
3) Their skin mutates to resemble the humanoids around them. The B3 lists this as taking only a generation or two. But perhaps cecaelias are renowned as spies and rogues, who can shift their skin color in only days or weeks…? (However, this would of course run counter to the B3’s description of them having negative attitudes toward deception. Speaking of which…)
4) Cecaelias are also “quickly frustrated by wordy attempts at diplomacy—which they nearly always view as attempts at deception.” Suddenly the trade summit just got more difficult. But that description leaves lots of room to play with…are they illiterate, magic-fearing barbarians? Proud amazons who speak with their spears? (The Spartans could be a model for cecaelias played as martial wits.) Furtive druids and water priests? Fey-loving nomads who swim with nixies and nereids? It’s up to you.
Which brings me to the most important part about cecaelias: They’re a blank slate. Aside from a single paragraph in Pathfinder Adventure Path #56: Raiders of the Fever Sea, which describes them as boastful nomads and traders, cecaelias have no RPG history to speak of…which means, even more than most races, you can make them your very own.
Every season men and merfolk meet in the vaults under Florian for a handoff of goods—the merfolk hand over pearls and sunken salvage for alchemically treated metal weapons and specialized goods. Adventurers are always needed to provide a little extra security (and some parties also make side deals to obtain or get rid off magical artifacts). This year the handoff goes awry as magically tattooed cecaelias burst in to claim the booty as their own.
A brine dragon and a colony of cecaelias are engaged in a battle of wits—with the stakes being the cecaelias’ freedom from the brine dragon’s obsessive control. The brine dragon has challenged the octopusfolk to face four challenges in a nautiloid obstacle course. But the cecaelia rovers, always looking for an angle, plan to beat the dragon at its own game by getting landlubbers to serve as their proxies.
In the Great Mere, cecaelias are also known as “the scyllaborn” and are regarded as the cursed offspring of cursed abominations. Already twice damned (in undersea society’s eyes at least, if not the gods’), it is no wonder that many cecaelias fall under the spell of powerful asuras. These cecaelias revere asura ranas, who in turn help the divine casters among the octopusfolk to steal spells from the gods without offering up prayers or worship. Many of the larger cecaelia communities in the Great Mere are advised by aquatic upasundas who spread their gospel of annihilation.
—Pathfinder Bestiary 3 49